13NOTESShe hesitated. For two years she had kept as far away from Mikael Blomkvist as she could. And yet he kept sticking to her life like gum on the sole of her shoe, either on the Net or in real life. On the Net it was O.K. There he was no more than electrons and words. In real life, standing on her doorstep, he was still fucking attractive. And he knew her secrets just as she knew all of his. She looked at him for a moment and realized that she now had no feelings for him. At least not those kinds of feelings. He had in fact been a good friend to her over the past year. She trusted him. Maybe. It was troubling that one of the few people she trusted was a man she spent so much time avoiding. Then she made up her mind. It was absurd to pretend that he did not exist. It no longer hurt her to see him. She opened the door wide and let him into her life again.
Her stare fixed me. Without rancour and without regret; without triumph and without evil; as Desdemona once looked back on Venice. On the incomprehension, the baffled rage of Venice. I had taken myself to be in some way the traitor Iago punished, in an unwritten sixth act. Chained in hell. But I was also Venice; the state left behind; the thing journeyed from.
I am who I am firstly because of genetics, and, running a very close second, because of choices: ones my parents made, such as choosing to emigrate to America; ones their parents made, like my Papa Butler opting to ignore medical advice and instead warming my mum in the oven to keep her alive; and very conscious ones that I've made for myself.
There are very few of us who remember the day, the moment, when our childhood ends. For most of us, the sun sets on our innocence gradually, sliding down over the western horizon like a toboggan run down over a long, steep slope. We are never really conscious of the moment we reach the bottom of the slope; we just know that one day we wake up and the toboggan ride is over.